THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook will sell its smart speakers internationally before launching them in the US, according to CNBC.
The report claims that Facebook was originally planning to launch its duo of smart speakers, codenamed 'Fiona' and 'Aloha', at its F8 conference this week, but pushed back the launch due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Citing "two people who have had discussions with the company about the devices", CNBC further adds that Facebook will sell its upcoming smart speakers internationally before launching them in the US as "American users and politicians have increased their focus on Facebook and user privacy."
The report also reveals some more details about the speakers, which will reportedly feature a digital assistant in the form of Facebook's 'M' program, which previously powered a Messenger chatbot before it was shut down in January.
CNBC has heard from "multiple sources" that Facebook will now turn 'M' into a voice assistant, capable of handling voice commands in a similar way to Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. At launch, the assistant could be known as Marvin, the sources added.
The speakers might also offer a translation service too, with Facebook showing off 'M Translations' at F8 on Monday, a Messenger and Marketplace feature that translates foreign languages into a Messenger user's default language.
According to earlier rumours, Facebook's Fiona and Aloha speakers will both feature 15in screens supplied by LG.
The Aloha speaker, which will reportedly arrive as the Facebook Portal, will use facial recognition to identify users via a wide-angle lens, although it's unclear whether this feature is still planned given the firm's recent privacy wrongdoings.
These same early rumours claim the so-called Portal will feature a $500 (around £360) price-tag, making it almost double the price of Amazon's screen-equipped smart speaker.
While it's unclear when the speakers will now debut, Digitmes last week reported that an October launch is likely on the cards, with Facebook no doubt hoping that we'll have all forgotten about the data-slurping debacle by then. µ
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